Is binge watching part of your nighttime routine ? If so, you’re in good company. According to a recent survey, binge watching is a favorite pastime for 70 percent of Americans. And it’s no wonder. It’s easy to get hooked on a series and blow through every episode. But this is one pastime we need to rethink. It can seriously disrupt sleep and lead to fatigue.
A recent study from the University of Michigan and the University of Leuven in Belgium investigated how binge watching impacts sleep.
The researchers observed the regular watching and binge watching habits of over 400 young adults, from the ages of 18 to 25. In the study, they defined binge watching as “watching multiple, consecutive episodes of the same TV-show in one sitting.”
And based on their findings, 80 percent of the young adults identified as binge watchers. And when it came to frequency, 20 percent of them reported binge watching a couple times each week.
How did these young adults fare after their binge watching sessions?
How binge watching impacts sleep
According to the research, binge watching disrupts sleep with insomnia symptoms, lower sleep quality and fatigue.
One reason for this may be the amount of mental stimulation called “pre-sleep arousal” that binge watchers experience after watching TV for hours on end. Even if it feels like you’re winding down at the end of the day, it’s actually stimulating your mind and making it more difficult to turn off at night.
Another possibility is the blue light emitted from the screens, which can interfere with melatonin production.
If you like to spend your evenings binge watching, consider cutting back. Maybe, instead of watching an entire season, limit yourself to one episode. If possible, watch it a couple hours before going to bed. Finally, try keeping binge watching the exception and not the norm.